My wife, experience widening soul that she is, booked a "Mexican Cuisine / Beach" excursion for us during our seven day cruise on the Carnival Valor. Although I really enjoy cooking, I recall grumbling a bit at the prospect of "cooking tacos and then eating them in the sand," when she told me.
However, I have to say that, from beginning to end, this was the highlight of our cruise, and I recommend this excursion without reservation, whatsoever. From beginning to end, we were treated wonderfully, shown a great time, and given knowledge that we'll turn into another great experience when we show off our new skills to our friends here at home.
If there is anything negative to say, it was over and done with straight away, as the sign holders on the cruise ship pier in Cozumel for Playa Mia were somewhat beyond everyone else and it took a few minutes to find them. There, any complaining stops :-)
We, and our six fellow culinary students, rode a taxi (large mini van) down to the location, about 20km or so south of the cruise ship port, where we were met by a host who quickly ascertained what we were there for and led us to the right place. There, on the steps of a brightly coloured building, stood a friendly young man, who greeted us warmly and welcomed us to his kitchen.
This chef, Luis, was an amazingly engaging fellow, with a glint in his eye and an ever present smile on his face. Regardless of the skills (or lack thereof!) of his class, Luis maintained his poise, professionalism and, most of all, his good natured humour, as he led us through the creation of dessert, main course and appetizer. Reading other comments, it sounds as if the menu is pretty constant, being chorizo / potato / corn tortilla appetizer, fish main course and rice pudding dessert, but the meal was a perfect fit and well within the abilities of all participants. I'm not the world's biggest fan of fish, but it turned out amazing.
The facility was clean, open, well maintained, and overlooked a gorgeous beach on the southern end of the island. We were offered a variety of drinks, alcoholic or not, included as part of the experience, and they were very good. It took a bit more than an hour to get everything prepared.
Following completion of our dishes, we went up to the top floor of the building, where we were served our own creations, and there was no grumbling about the quality of the food (of course, Luis was quick to point out that any compliments, and complaints, should be addressed to the chef!) Luis also spent a bit of time recalling his education and experience with the culinary arts. By the end of the lunch, my wife and I were ready to throw down enough money to start a restaurant and put Luis in charge!
However, after lunch, instead of investment and restaurant design classes, we were treated to about three hours on a pristine beach, which features those amazing turquoise waters of the Caribbean, fine white sand, free water craft and an open bar. Although I spent a bit of time swimming, we spent most of the afternoon relaxing on beach chairs under a complimentary umbrella. By 2:45, we were ready, and a bus was ready, to head back to the cruise ship.
We can't say enough about this excursion and the people who operate and conduct the class. It was a wonderful experience and easily the highlight of our trip. Thank you to Luis, his staff, and the entire crew of Playa Mia, for a great day on your amazing island.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.